Protected Areas

According to the Protocol on Environmental Protecion to the Antarctic Treaty, the whole Antarctic is a natural reserve devoted to peace and science (Art. 2). At the same time, the Protocol established additional categories of protected areas: ASPA (Antarctic Specially Protected Area), ASMA (Antarctic Specially Managed Area), and HSM (Historic Sites and Monuments). ASPAs are established in order to protect areas of particular natural value. Entry into their territory is only possible with a permit issued by the competent authority of the State concerned. Polish polar explorers are authorised by IBB PAN. There are 72 ASPA areas in the Antarctic (about 3,270 km2 in total), including 7 on King George Island. At the initiative of Poland, two ASPA areas were established: ASPA 128 Western Shore of Admiralty Bay and ASPA 151 Lions Rump.

ASPA 128 Western Shore of Admiralty Bay is located approximately 700 m southeast of the Station. It covers almost 17 km2, more than half of which is ice-free. The rest of the ASPA 128 is covered by glaciers descending from the Warsaw Icefield. Only one of them, the Ecology Glacier, reaches the Bay. The area was established to ensure the protection of the rich fauna (productive and resting areas of penguins, flying birds, pinnipeds) and flora (moss and lichens) of the area. Monitoring of birds and mammals has been carried out in ASPA 128 since 1977 (one of the longest series of data in the Antarctic). The ASPA 128 area hosts the American seasonal Copacabana station and the Polish Demay base.

ASPA 151 Lions Rump is located in King George Bay. It includes an area of 1.3 km² between the White Eagle Glacier and the sublitoral zone stretching from the Lajkonik Rocks, through the Twin Pinnacles to Lions Head. Currently, the area is completely ice-free. The area was established in order to ensure protection of geological formations and – as in the case of ASPA 128 – of the rich fauna (productive and resting areas of penguins, flying birds, pinnipeds) and flora (moss and lichens). The Polish Lions Rump base is located near the ASPA 151 border.

ASMAs are set up to coordinate the activities of countries active in the area, to avoid potential conflicts and to minimise environmental damage. In the Antarctic, 6 such areas have been established so far with a total area of about 30,000 km². The entry to an ASMA area is not subject to authorisation.

The entire area of the Admiralty Bay and its catchment area is the ASMA 1 Admiralty Bay, covering almost 410 km². The ASMA 1 has established a series of Scientific Zones covering scientifically valuable areas. One of them is the moss carpet (the so-called Jasnorzewski Gardens), i.e. the area covered with compact vegetation located between the Station and the border of ASPA 128. Entry into the area is restricted to persons carrying out scientific research or monitoring activities there and duly authorised.

HSMs are designated to protect historical sites from destruction. In the Antarctic, there are already 92 of them. In the vicinity of the Station, there is a grave of Włodzimierz Puchalski, entered on the list of Historical Places and Monuments of Antarctic (HSM 51).